MIRANET’s Bill 108 Concerns
The Mississauga Residents’ Association Network (MIRANET) is a city-wide network of residents’ associations. MIRANET notes that Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019) has received second reading in the Legislature. The period for public comment closes on June 1, 2019. More time should be permitted for public input when Bill 108 proposes to amend 13 statutes. We have serious concerns about the Province’s proposed Bill 108.
Economists on all sides of the political debate have authored numerous studies demonstrating that “trickle down economics” is a failure. There is no evidence to support that a reduction in Development Charges (DCs) will lead to more affordable housing. There is no mechanism to ensure that these cost savings will be passed on to the home buyer. Home prices respond to supply and demand. This reduction in DCs is tantamount to an industry subsidy for developers at the expense of the taxpayer.
Mississauga has been developing a comprehensive housing strategy in consultation with residents and stakeholder groups which will utilize inclusionary zoning. This may be negated by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing who will have the power to restrict the City’s Official Plan and override municipalities. Who will benefit? Only the developers.
Municipal taxpayers must not subsidize the highly profitable development industry; we are already burdened enough by the high property taxes we pay. In a free market, Developers must be able to stand on their own two feet. The proposed changes will increase red tape and staffing requirements. The Municipality will be assuming greater financial risks due to the reduced development charge payment schedules. The Municipality must not assume the financial risk if Developers go bankrupt, are sold or move. WILL THE PROVINCE MAKE UP FOR ANY REDUCTIONS IN DC REVENUE?
The community benefit charge could be the most significant of all the proposed changes. In the current Planning Act, “Section 37/Community Benefits” are known as bonus zoning, applying to sites that see height and density increases, beyond current zoning. The Developer contributes a portion of the land value uplift to help off-set the impact of this unexpected and increased development. This puts the amount back into the community that is receiving the extra height/density. The Bill proposes that the term “Community Benefit” include: Section 37 contributions, soft services development charges (e.g. library, recreation and parks, and other services traditionally subject to the statutory ten per cent deduction under the Development Charges Act, 1997); and payment in lieu of parkland dedication.
The legislation indicates the new “Community Benefit” will be capped at a prescribed percentage of the value of the lands, rather than a per-unit type of charge. If the cap reduces what the City can collect, there could be impacts on the tax base or service levels. MIRANET suggests the value of land bears no relationship to the projected number of residents living on that land who will require Municipal services. A Complete Community has parks, libraries, and recreation facilities which make it a liveable community. The Premier’s Bill 108 will deny us these benefits. Who wants to live In a concrete jungle?
The shortened time lines under the proposed streamlined Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) will no longer allow for meaningful public consultation and will generate much greater staffing and resource requirements for the City’s Planning Department. Municipalities are already struggling to meet the current timelines. This will cost more money. WILL THE PROVINCE COVER THESE COSTS?
After years of public and stakeholder consultation, the Province implemented changes to the seriously flawed OMB model, introducing the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) that gives more power to Municipalities and residents. The Province’s new model returns power to Developers. Will Bill 108 have the effect of taxpayers partially funding developments? We certainly hope not.
Does being open for business mean taxpayers are expected to foot the bill? IS THIS GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE?
Mississauga Residents’ Association Network
31 May 2019